Learn Photography Faster PT2

In How to Learn Photography Faster PT 1 we looked at why we don’t try things out. What it is that leads to laziness. There is so much photography to be learned simply by trying things to see what happens, but many of us want to be told or even have it done for us.

Which is a shame because trying something is like an experiment. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and just sometimes we get an image (or result) which surpasses our expectations. And when that happens we've truly learned something new for our photography.

So, now let's address those same questions from part one for real and I'll show you how easy it is to make some lovely new neural pathways in our Brilliant Brain - Which is by the way, my 1st Building Block of Photography.

What is the best Aperture to use?

That depends on how you want your image to look. Apertures are both an exposure control and a creative control too. You have to know what an aperture does, then ask yourself questions about what you want your image to look like. How much sharpness (Block 5) do you want?

Can I use my photo filters on my Camcorder?

That depends on which filters you have. Do they fit over the camcorder's lens or not?

What's the difference between sunny and cloudy white balance?

The colour of light is changing all the time but our eyes don't see it because our Brilliant Brains colour correct everything for us. Cameras don't have brains, so they have a white balance control instead. All you have to do is match it to the lighting situation. To see how much difference there is between them, just take the same photo twice. 1st with sunny preset then again with cloudy.

Which lens will give me the best results when I go out to shoot pictures?

That depends on what you want the pictures to look like, as well as the subject you're shooting. For example, if you're shooting wildlife or sports you'll need a long lens. Try shooting on a short lens and the action will be tiny in the image so you'll have to crop away most of those lovely megapixels you spent so much money on.

But more than that, different focal lengths can be used to create different looks in an image. So you have to begin with an idea of what you want then try different lenses / focal lengths to see what happens.

Can I shoot a portrait with a 50mm lens?

You can shoot a portrait with any length lens. But as with focal length, you have to ask yourself how you want the image to look. So all you can do is shoot some portraits with a 50mm lens to see if you like them.

What's the best shutter speed to use?

Like apertures, shutter speeds have a technical use to help control exposure, but they can also be used creatively to freeze or blur movement. The 'best' shutter speed is the one that gives you both the exposure you need and the movement effect (frozen or blurred) you want. So why not try some out and see what happens?

You will learn photography so much faster if you try stuff out by doing experiments just to see what happens. Whilst i'd love to implant knowledge and experience I've gained over 20+ years directly into your head, I can't.

And if I did, I'd be depriving everyone of the fun and sense of achievement gained from finding answers for yourself.

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3 Landscape Tips

vietnam-txt-streamLandscape photography is one of those areas where patience, thinking it through and taking your time pays dividends.  We have all seen a scene we want to capture but sadly we’re in a hurry, so we leap out the car and just grab a shot without giving it too much thought.

This may or may not result in a great shot. But have you thought to ask yourself if there’s more to be had from a location than the obvious? You have to build upon an initial idea. Explore possibilities.

I was in Vietnam driving through the mountains when we came upon this amazing view of rice terraces. We stopped so the film crew could shoot some aerial shots with their drone so Simon and I took the opportunity to look around and shoot this video.

As we drove up the hill I’d noticed one of the little paths that wind their way through the paddies so we went for a walk to see what it would yield.

Almost straight away we came upon some greenery we could use as foreground, which can frame a scene and give it more depth. In some cases just finding a bit of foreground can make or break an image.

But don’t forget to look around you. It’s all to easy to miss a beautiful detail of the landscape that’s right next to you because you’re absorbed by what’s in front.

You have to concentrate and really look at a scene. In the first shot of the last scenario there’s a stick poking up on the left. I didn’t really notice it to begin with. It wasn’t until I checked the shot in the LCD it became apparent.

So how do we remove it? Well obviously there’s Photoshop but I’m lazy. A few steps to the side will change the geometry of the image. It makes things align differently so you can lose unwanted clutter from the composition.

So besides making sure the light is appropriate for the scene, here are 3 landscape photography tips to consider.

  1. Take time – think of other possibilities for the location
  2. Find some foreground. It could make a world of difference
  3. Look to the side as well as in front. You might have missed something

These things are not functions of your camera. They are functions of you thinking like a photographer.


3 Landscape Tips

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